"The practice of creative writing, and specifically of poetry within this sphere, has had a consistent, profoundly therapeutic effect on my life, my physical and psycho-emotional well-being. It has also had a collective healing and transformational impact on the audiences, participants and collaborators with whom I, as a professional arts activist/applied arts practitioner, have engaged over many years."
MALIKA NDLOVU, APPLIED ARTS PRACTITIONER
"Thank you for a most wonderful course.
When I was younger I spent a year trying to wind surf. I tried and tried and the sail kept flopping into the water. A friend kept saying, Laura you won’t be able to do this until you put your foot behind the mast-boom. My brain heard her but I couldn’t figure out what she meant. I kept trying and trying to lift the sail with my foot in-front of the mast-boom. One day, my foot went behind the mast-boom and the sail lifted and I rushed into the ocean where I wanted to go.
Your course was like that day. Before it, I heard what people were saying about writing. I read what people were writing about writing. I entered a few competitions and did well. But, it didn’t feel right.
Now, when an idea springs into my mind, I refuse to use the computer at the first birthing. The perfectionist critiques every word if I use the computer.
I also, through your course, learnt to write what I want to write (not what I think other people want to hear).
I have learnt to use my own life (for this is the only unique source of inspiration there is). I can disguise my life as fiction. So, THANK YOU"
Laura Campbell, Durban
"I found Dawn Garisch’s memoir-writing course extremely useful and helpful: she provided a structure that held all of us would-be memoirists firmly to our task, while at the same time helping us to get in touch with our senses, our fears, our dreams, our stories. The image that comes to mind is of holding tight to the golden thread that will allow us to go down to the depths and emerge again, unscathed though not unchanged. The sense of community and support that is born of twenty-odd people meeting daily for four days to address themselves to such a deeply individual task was also one of the unexpected pleasures of the experience. I would heartily recommend this course."
Athalie Crawford, Cape Town
"This course helped me to break through the block created by my own diffidence and reluctance, enabling me to find and become confident in the thread I must pursue in order to be true to myself. Dawn created an atmosphere of trust in which the participants felt free to go as far as they wished on this journey into memory and onto the page. The structure of the course was well thought out and effective, both day by day and as a whole. An unusual, highly effective and striking aspect of Dawn’s facilitative work is her insistence that writing, memory and creativity are not simply to be found in the ‘head’, but are lodged in and distributed through the ‘memory’ to be discovered in the body itself. The course was enlightening, stimulating, moving and fun."
John Cartwright, Cape Town
"Dawn's memoir writing workshop was a finely crafted and facilitated process that encouraged and enabled us to write. My creativity was stimulated by her use of poetry and prose, her listening and sensing exercises, her considerable knowledge and experience of the act of writing, and her easy manner when it came to holding and guiding the group and the process. In short: an excellent and productive experience!"
Judy Bekker, Cape Town
"The evaluations from your students indicate that many felt they benefitted greatly from your facilitation and encouragement to draw on their own inner resources to spark their writing, and that through this they gained knowledge about themselves and insights that were highly enriching to the writing process. They were given some methodology and tools and felt supported and enabled to be self-reliant in their work. Although this made others used to a more didactic approach insecure at first, they adapted to it and acknowledged its value."
Feedback from UCT Summer School
"Hi daar, ek het die vreeslik geniet. Maar het nog baie stories omte vertel. Ek het ook nie geweet skryf laat jou gevoelens vloei nie. Dan ook al wat dit vereis is stilte a pen en a spierwit bladsy om baie dit te deel."
Selanvor Platjies, Barrydale
"You will never know what a gift the course has been and what it has done for me, as well as the ripple effect my writing will have in the future. The gentle guidance and patience since then has given me the joy of believing in myself as well as the sheer delight of remembering and writing. A door opened for me that has led me to meeting wonderful people who also stimulate and affirm me. "Thank you" are such inadequate words, but I have no other, except to say that you have enriched my life immeasurably."
"Doing the course opened me to emotions I didn't realise I have and made me look at some parts of my life with a different eye, especially when it comes to writing about my family. They all played a part in my life and it's time for me to honour them for their roles. Some have hurt me but the course helped me realise I don't have to write from a place of revenge but from the love I received from them. Each of them loved me in his/her strange way and contributed to making me the person I am today and I'm super-proud.
I’ve made a promise to myself not to stop writing from now on. Thank you!"
Nolubabalo, Cape Town
"I found Dawn Garisch's Life Writing Workshop gratifying and inspiring in so many ways. Her approach to creative writing is uniquely her own, and one that effortlessly accommodates aspiring and published writers of memoir from a wide variety of backgrounds. I appreciate the lengths to which she goes to allow cross-subsidization of participants not able to afford the fees by those who can. Dawn guides and infuses the workshop process with her vast expertise, energy, and delight. She creates a safe place for participants to explore deeply both positive and negative aspects of their life stories. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to write their life story. It will allow you to write creatively, with integrity and honesty, in an environment with like-minded people guided by an excellent mentor."
Phyllis Orner, Cape Town